Workout of the Week: Power Yoga

Sian Williams, Power Yoga Instructor, teaching at the YMCA. — Courtesy YMCA of MV

Some people just aren’t into sitting quietly, meditating, chanting, or moving at a slow pace. That’s cool, but don’t think that’s all there is to the art of yoga. There are thousands of ways to practice yoga, and a handful of those methods are available on the Island of Martha’s Vineyard — including power yoga. It’s not that power yoga leaves out the fundamentals — the flowing movements, the quiet room, and the deep stretches are all still there. But there will be sweat. Oh, there will be sweat.

Power yoga takes a quicker pace than most yoga classes, and it includes a lot of isometric holds: poses that lock your muscles in a contracted position. One Vineyard ambassador of power yoga, Sian Williams, teaches power yoga sessions which include lots of planks, and even pushups, to get your blood pumping. A common power yoga flow takes you from plank position, through chaturanga (lowering yourself through the shoulders, hovering), into upward facing dog. This sequence can be challenging, even for the physically fit, and especially tough on the shoulders. If you lift weights, or do any other athletic activity that stresses your shoulders, make sure they are well rested before taking a power yoga class. Power yoga is especially great for core stabilization too (again, lots of plank variations). For those in decent athletic shape, power yoga will be challenging, but not unbearable. Most classes end with one or two challenge moves. It’s okay if you can’t get it right the first try, most of the people that nail these moves are seasoned veterans. But it’s fun to put your strength, flexibility, and balance to the test while trying. And that clear, meditative state of mind that comes with the sitting quietly, meditating, chanting, and taking it slow? Yeah, you get that too.

Power yoga by Sian Williams is offered at the YMCA of M.V. Wednesdays at 6:30 pm and Saturdays at 10:15 am; the Mansion House Health Club Mondays at 4:30 pm; and Island Co-Housing Thursdays at 5:30 pm. 508-696-0037. Additional power yoga classes are offered at One Hot Yoga, The Martha’s Vineyard Yoga Center, Fit’s Possible, and Yoga Haven. Call your favorite studio to see if they have a power yoga class on the schedule.